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  1. #1
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    So... i bought a second hand L&R tank ultrasonic cleaner.. looks like the smaller vareity, but i don't do large volumes of movements, or grandfathers, so it's good for me. Didn't come with a basket though... Is one required for the ultrasonic to work right, or can i just rest the parts on the bottom? I have a plastic basket from a cheapo one i bought off ebay... any reason why that wouldn't work if i needed to use one? I'll be using 677 with #3 rinse.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic?

    So... i bought a second hand L&R tank ultrasonic cleaner.. looks like the smaller vareity, but i don't do large volumes of movements, or grandfathers, so it's good for me. Didn't come with a basket though... Is one required for the ultrasonic to work right, or can i just rest the parts on the bottom? I have a plastic basket from a cheapo one i bought off ebay... any reason why that wouldn't work if i needed to use one? I'll be using 677 with #3 rinse.
    Thanks!

  3. #3
    Registered User lamarw's Avatar
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    You will not want to rest parts or things agains the bottom or sides of your ultrasonic. The vibrations that perfom the cleaning function will cause needless wear to your unit. You could suspend parts with wire into the unit from a rod across the top making sure the items do not touch the side or bottoms of the tank. Can't answer your question on the plastic basket, but do not use a galvanized basket. If yours did not come with one, you can obtain an owner's manual from L&R. At some point, you will probably want to obtain a stainless steel basket.

  4. #4

    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Hey Fumer,
    You are a clock guy/gal and I do watches but this might be a good tip anyway. I fill my tank with water and string the watch parts on wire and place them in a jar of ultra-sonic cleaner. In other words, since I don't need too much space, the jar becomes my tank within a tank. The vibrations transfer perfectly to the jar. The basket is really just an aid to help in holding and draining your movement. If the movement is easily retrieved by other means then the basket isn't necessary.

    I never put plastic in the tank. That might be my superstition but, in my book, chemicals and
    plastics are something to avoid if possible.
    -Cort

  5. #5
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    hmmm thanks for the suggestions.. lamarw confirmed my suspicions about tanke wear, and I agree with 4th about mixing plastic and 677. THe jar sounds like an interesting idea, but unfortunately my cleaner is one of the smaller ones, and i don't think there will be room for parts and a jar in there. I guess i'll order whatever basket that will fit from timesavers. Until then, I can use a suspension wire to clean a few oddshaped parts i have laying about.
    Thanks!
    ~Fumey

  6. #6
    Gnomon
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Baskets can cause some loss of efficiency with ultrasonic cleaners. They tend to break up the big, powerful, wave pulses, and turn them into a bunch of tiny little pulses that are bouncing in all directions. A thin walled glass container is much better, as it tends to pass the waves mostly unattenuated into its interior.

    Back when I thought the ultrasonic was the bee's knees, I kept my cleaning solutions in several different small jars. I strung the wheels, etc on a piece of copper wire that was shaped sort of like a coat hanger, giving lots of room for the parts to move without getting all bunched up at the bottom. I made a simple wire contraption that suspended the jar that was being used in the ultrasonic cleaner. It worked pretty good. My Marshall Little Giant parts cleaning machine works better, though.

    There are a couple of very important rules you should follow with ultrasonic cleaners. The first is never let the tank run out of fluid. It should be 1/2 to 3/4 full at all times (unless it has sidewall heaters, in which case you should follow the manufacturer's recommendations). And second, never let anything of substance sit on the bottom of the tank. If you let your beaker sit on the bottom, it is very likely you will damage the piezoelectric transducer that drives the tank. If that happens, your ultrasonic cleaner will permanently lose most of its cleaning power... it might even quit entirely (nah, you should be so lucky! ;-). I have had very bad luck finding used 1-2 quart ultrasonic cleaners that don't have damaged transducers. The little bitty ones meant for jewelry are much harder to damage.

    -Chuck Harris

  7. #7
    Registered User lamarw's Avatar
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Hi fume happy, I can understand some confusion since there is a difference in opinion between 4thdimension and myself on tank wear by having parts resting in the bottom or against the sides of the tank. I will not challenge the differing opinion since I can not provide proof to the contrary and have no desire to risk my equipment to test for end results. I, like you, initially ask the same question. I was told by several others to use a basket to prevent premature tank wear. It made sense to me. It also makes sense to me parts will not be thouroughly cleaned if some portion is resting against the tank and not open to the ultrasonic action through the cleaning solution. I have dangled parts threaded on a brass wire with good results. The correct basket does simplify the process; although they are on the expensive side. L&R does recommend the use of stainless steel baskets, but not mesh, and beaker holders in their equipment. I think I got my basket on sale from Merritts. Bottomline: You will love your ultrasonic.

    I just read Gnoman's post. I guess he was submitting it while I was typing the above. He provides a lot of good information. I certainly learned a lot by reading his post. The tranducer damage potential makes even more sense than damage concerns to the tank lining.

  8. #8
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Before Gnoman's post, i had pondered the possibilites of suspending the jar. Now that i know it's not such a crazy idea after all, i'm off to home depot and AC moore to see what i can rig up. Supposed to get a lot of snow by me tomorrow... sounds like a good day to learn the wonders of ultrasonic cleaning.
    As far as the power of the used ultrasonic goes, it swiss-cheesed up a piece of foil pretty good in under a minute, so I'm hoping that's a good sign. :biggrin:
    ~fumey

  9. #9

    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Interesting discourse! I really don't know what the best method is and can only state what has worked for me. I agree with Gnoman's warning that ultrasonics should never be run
    dry. I have heard that testing one dry, to see if it works, is likely to kill what may have been a good machine. I'm not willing to test this theory on my machine however.

    On the resting of objects "of substance" on the bottom of the tank, here's my take. My L&R
    was purchased at the flea for $5- about 15 years ago. I use an almond butter jar full of
    ultrasonic cleaner that sits on the bottom of the tank. The tank is filled approx. 3/4 full with water. It works great. After all these years I don't think my machine is being hurt,
    although I will take Gnoman's advice as far as not putting anything of greater substance in there.
    -Cort

  10. #10
    Gnomon
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    I am happy that 4th dimension has had good luck letting his jar rest on the bottom of the tank, but I would still recommend that he discontinue that practice, and suspend the jar.

    The transducer is a thin sheet ( 1/8") of barium titanate ceramic that is silver plated top and bottom. The transducer is typically epoxied to a thin sheet of bakelite (1/32"), and that sheet is epoxied to the bottom of the stainless steel tank. The epoxy is really working hard to keep that transducer attached.

    Under normal operation, the transducer sheet becomes thicker and thinner in time with the ultrasonic generator. When this happens, (because the transducer sheet has mass of its own) the bottom of the tank bows in and out in time with the transducer. If you let anything substantial come into contact with the bottom of the tank, the mass of that object will change the shape of the bowing of the tank bottom. Instead of being a simple bow, it might become "S" shaped, dampened where the mass comes into contact. The transducer, however is going to try and remain perfectly flat. It is a brittle ceramic, after all... If the force of the deflection becomes too great, the ceramic will crack, or the epoxy bond will break. Either way, you amount of ultrasonic power you couple into your solution is going to drop way down from then on. But in the sick sort of way that things often are in electronics, your now broken ultrasonic cleaner will continue to make that happy buzzy squeal, just like it did when it was working.

    The easiest way to tell if you have a full output ultrasonic cleaner is to fill the tank 3/4 full with clean water, and insert a 1 inch wide strip of normal aluminum foil into the center of the tank. Within 30 seconds, there should be at least a dozen small holes in the aluminum foil sheet. If this doesn't happen, it is time to put your cleaner <STRIKE>on ebay</STRIKE> in the trash

    Before you put something in your ultrasonic cleaner for cleaning, do think back to the aluminum foil test, and think about whether that something can withstand that sort of rigorous agitation. An ultrasonic cleaner "pile drives" the cleaning solution into the dirt, and into the smallest cracks and crevaces, and then sucks the solution back out, often with microscopically explosive results (cavitation). I have seen sheets of porcelain ripped off of dials. I have heard of opals, pearls, and turquoise crumbling into bits.

    Oh, one other thing: NEVER put your fingers in the solution when the cleaner is in operation! Imagine what might happen with all that cavitation going on in the capilaries of your finger, and within the cells... it isn't a pretty sight.

    -Chuck Harris

  11. #11

    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Holy cow!
    Chuck, I may try the foil test but, frankly, I may be satisfied with the way my machine works, even if not fully up to specs. Also, I've always been too chicken to try my fingers in the water because I've heard that "great pain" doesn't begin to describe it. I do appreciate your knowledge and advise about ultrasonics.
    -Cort

  12. #12
    Gnomon
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Hi Cort,

    Your glass bottle isn't all that heavy, glass is bouyed alot by the water in the tank, you probably kept it centered in the tank, and you are using a fairly modern ultrasonic cleaner, made by one of the best companies in the business, so you are probably ok.

    Try the foil test, and I think you will be pleasantly surprised. You have to see it to believe it.

    I have had my fingers end up in the sause briefly once. It tingles and I saw no overt signs of distress, but the whole thought of what has to be going on inside of my fingers (and it has been reported in the literature that this does go on) makes me cringe. Little artificially induced microscopic cavitation bubbles, and scouring action have no business going on inside of MY finger cells.

    I suspect the biggest danger of getting the fingers in the sauce, is the ultrasonic cleaners tendancy to drive the solvent into any space it can. This has to increase the skin absorbtion of whatever is in the solution.

    -Chuck Harris

  13. #13

    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Here is a good site for more info on ultrasonics.
    http://www.hessonic.com/guide/index.html
    Mike C.
    Mike C.
    aka clock whisperer

  14. #14
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    hello, got my little rig set up... i'll try and post pictures sometime tomorrow...
    i'm using small quantities of 677 and number 3 rinse in my garage. i catch a whiff occasionally, but i don't stand over the container and inhale. doesn't seem too strong. i keep the rinse and cleaner covered with tinfoil when not in use to prevent evap. Seems to work really good so far :biggrin:
    Thanks again for all the help.

  15. #15
    107WestStreet
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    Default do you need a basket for ultrasonic? (RE: fume happy)

    Some people just use a kitchen strainer supported across the top edges of the tank.

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